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Chapters 52 and 53
After he is set free, Gringoire meets with Claude Frollo and tells him of his narrow escape from death. He reveals that he is more committed than ever to the plan of rescuing La Esmeralda from her certain execution, directly order by the King.
Back at Notre Dame, Quasimodo is in critical danger, for the cathedral is on the verge of being taken over by the angry mob. Suddenly the King’s troops, led by Phoebus, attack the attackers, forcing the gypsies to retreat. Quasimodo, thinking his enemies have been defeated, returns to La Esmeralda’s cell. To his shock she is gone.
The meeting between Gringoire and Claude Frollo is very significant. Gringoire still does not realize he is a pawn in Frollo’s hand. Both men continue forward in the plan to get La Esmeralda out of Notre Dame, each for different reasons.
Quasimodo’s role in this chapter is again very admirable as he defends La Esmeralda, the woman he loves, and Notre-Dame, which has always been his home. Not once during the attack by the gypsies does the hunchback show any concern for himself or his safety. Sadly, in spite of his efforts to protect her, something has happened to La Esmeralda. When he goes to her cell, where he believes she is safely cloistered, he finds that she is gone.
The irony that Phoebus has been sent to stop the uprising and arrest La Esmeralda is nearly lost in the confusion of the scene. She is charged with killing this man, who is really alive and fighting to have her killed.